So I’m going to ask the Body Geek Politic here, because frankly I’m out of
the loop on this technology.
I’m doing enough mobile work on my IBM Thinkpad T23 that I
think it’s time to consider wireless service options. I’ve signed up for an
account with T-Mobile for wireless access
in the various Starbucks so liberally
strewn about the area, but that only gets me WiFi access within the cafe(s).
What I’d really like is full time wireless access via the phone networks.
Now, I’ve heard tell that this is fairly commonplace now, though the pricing
can fluctuate dramatically. I’ve been using an old tried and true Nokia
36mumble PCS phone from AT&T Wireless, and
I’ve been super-happy with the coverage and battery and the like, but I’d like
to explore things and see what’s out there.
So here’s my list of “Things I Want”
- Full time or Near fulltime Internet service
This means that I should be able to turn on the phone, and inside a few
seconds, be on the net. I’ve used ‘cell modem’ technologies before, and taking
30 seconds to connect up just made me avoid the whole thing.
- Good battery life
My current Nokia can go 3-4 days without getting plugged in, using it for 2-3
calls a day. This is fantastic, and I know that sort of lifetime isn’t
realistic for a phone with 10x the capability, but I would like to be able to
go 2 days without requiring a plugin, and at least 4 hours of usage in wireless
mode without needing recharging.
- Affordable service
I understand that wireless services need to be paid for, no problem there. But
I can’t afford a hundred bucks a month just for the privelege of being able to
check my mail from the road. I’ve seen TMobile offering unlimited data rates
for $20/month, (on top of normal phone services) – I can handle that.
- Good coverage
I’ve also gotten spoiled by the very good coverage that AT&T PCS provides.
I rarely get serious dropouts, and my wife, who has a Cingular GSM phone
gets abysmal coverage in the same geographic area.
- Bluetooth (or equivelent)
I need a way to for the phone to talk to the laptop. Since I run Linux, that
adds a complexity angle to it, but I’ve seen many posts on the net about Linux
bluetooth tools (‘bluez?’) that make this possible. I’d love to hear
experiences from people who have done this, and how well it’s worked. I’m also
very interested in other bluetooth accessories, such as wireless headsets, so
having the capability in the phone would be great.
- PDA Functionality
I’m a PDA nut, I admit, but I flip around on platforms a lot. I don’t want
a WinCE or PocketPC or whatever they’re calling it nowadays. Since I’m a
Linux shop, this would just set up more fights. PalmOS would be just fine,
though anything that supports games, contact syncing, and perhaps calendar
syncing would be great.
- Oh, and a pony.
I know, this is getting truly wishful. Something with a memory slot that
lets me put memory cards in for MP3 playing would be wonderful. xsd and SD
cards are getting cheap for 256 and 512meg cards, which are plenty big
enough for holding some serious music. Wouldn’t it be nice if this were in
the phone too?
Things not as important to me
I’m willing to spend the money necessary for a phone / device that
does all this, since I feel that I’d be replacing my phone and gaining
a PDA and an MP3 player all at once, but I’d like to keep the price
below the Ridiculous level, like, if this can be had for less than
$450, that would be peachy.
- Screen / Keyboard
Unless some amazing thing has happened lately, keyboards on PDA’s still
suck. You can’t get a full size keyboard on a unit, and all the possible
options are compromises. If I want to type / browse the web / do serious
work, I’ll bluetooth into the laptop, not use the built in screen. Some
functionality is okay, but I’m not going to spend a lot just to get an
80×24 ssh session that I can run Pine in. If I -can- do it, great, but
it’s not a requirement
So, does this sort of thing even exist? What the hell is the difference
between a GSM, Tri-Mode, and PCS phone anyway? Any experiences in the Boston
area (particularly -out- of the city, since I live In The Sticks) would be